The Management and administration of public examinations in Zambia: A case study of the examinations cuncil of Zambia,2005-2010
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Examiners absenteeism and negative job attitude are a major problem confronting the Examinations Council of Zambia. Over the years, the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ) has progressively experienced a low turnout of trained examiners during marking sessions. The Council considers the wealth of experience the examiners obtain by consistently participating in marking as an important factor for continuous improvement of the quality of marking. The study investigated factors that predispose examiners to absenteeism at School Certificate and General Certificate of Education marking sessions and the need for improved examiner attendance. The study comprised twenty four males and sixteen female examiners giving a total of forty respondents. Five Examinations Council of Zambia subject specialists were also interviewed. The main instruments used in the collection of data were Examinations Council of Zambia official reports, questionnaires, interview guides, focus group discussions and observation methods. The study employed the triangulation technique. The overall findings of the research indicate that examiner absenteeism at marking sessions is a consequence of low marking rates paid to examiners, selective payment of subsistence allowances to examiners, poor accommodation standards, non involvement of examiners by ECZ in the decision process, poor working relationships between ECZ officials and examiners among others. In view of the findings, the researcher made the following recommendations; that reasonable marking rates should be paid to examiners and on time, ECZ must consider paying subsistence allowances to all examiners, funding must be increased to the Council to make it more viable and able to deal with emerging challenges confronting it. Further recommendations were the need for the provision of adequate transport refunds payable to examiners and the general improvement of marking venues by making them more habitable. It was also established that the Examinations Council of Zambia must accord recognition to its long-serving examiners by instituting awards of excellence and issuance of letters of commendations to deserving examiners. The findings also established that, examiners engaged in public examinations assessment need to demonstrate more commitment, transparency, responsiveness and professionalism in view of the strategic role they play notwithstanding the various sociological challenges confronting them.
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